At one o'clock this morning the grandfather clock clanged its St. Michael chimes. I lay awake for the next hour, swimming in the horrible details of whale harpooning and slaughter houses. Not an inspiring reflection, one which regrettably translated into other hostile reminders such as memento mori and the steady evaporation of youth. Perhaps the most poisonous admission was that an disagreeable result awaits us all. It matters not whether your casket is gilded or covered in gray cloth.
No. 1 The Ocean
This aligns with a multitude of related images and dreams, involving lighthouses, storms, sand dunes, fishing villages, ribbons of highway along the Atlantic coast, the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, lobster and oysters, Winston cigarettes and a handmade dark-blue cardigan, the endless horizon and the salt sea air. It is an alluring notion which captures me even inland when driving over the crest of a hill towards the vast blue sky. I imagine approaching the sea.
No. 2 Technology
Today's car is a computer on wheels. I adore technology. Technology positively insinuates my life - iPhone, laptop, iPad, HUD (head up display). I have at my fingertips - literally! - the weather, the time, the stock market, email, the internet, music, books, calculator, calendar, reminders, alarm clock, camera, radio, banking, Rolodex, heart monitor, maps, automatic car ignition - oh, and a telephone! Technology - for good or for bad - has become a closed universe for whatever I wish, just like an air-conditioned car. But whatever awful things can be said about the automobile (which soon enough will all be electric) there is no denying its glamour as an instrument of travel. And if anyone pretends to squelch that particular euphoria (note: I did not say phobia), I remind them that not all roads are urban and congested. There are - at least within the immediate sphere of my own dawdling existence - some indescribably beautiful roads.
No. 3 Music and Cinema
As testimony to the authenticity of this especial affection I willingly report that like many old fogeys I have graduated from the former popular music - which for my age-group was primarily The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, The Pet Shop Boys and Tiny Turner. Then the dulcet atmosphere was manifest by vodka martinis (plus Jane Austen and a fireplace) and Dooley Wilson, Ivor Novello, Jo Stafford, Billie Holiday, Patti Page, Stan Getz, George Gershwin and Nino Rota. Finally it was overtaken by Bach, Elgar, Pachelbel, Handel, Vivaldi, Liszt and Holst - and ultimately by Giacomo Puccini and his colleagues at the Grand Théâtre de Monte Carlo.
Federico Fellini remains unequivocally my favourite filmmaker. Margaret Atwood's artistic inventiveness (captured for example in the "Handmaid's Tale") doesn't begin to compete!
This peculiar - and sometimes dangerously foppish - weakness of mine is commonly known as Bling. Or Tinsel. In many instances it qualifies as showy and vulgar, not unusually an expression of "wealth" (read: trashy lower-class commercial grub) but nonetheless always eye-catching and evocative.
Amusingly for me this item includes nautical allusions such as "Marine Star". And every buccaneer of any worth had a treasure of gold on some remote island.
No. 5 Friends
This affirms the presentation within a rising scale of importance. Parenthetically this afternoon we were happily reminded of the significance. We reunited with old friends to celebrate an ancient friend's 100th birthday (which actually occurred today). I won't deny that this event has been foremost on my mind since our friend's daughter called to arrange the foregathering. The occasion spoke to me in the most tangible way. And in the process removed whatever disturbances may have agitated me in the dark hours of the morning. It was unquestionably a highlight of the entire summer. Being with the people who have meant so much to me for so many, many years was pure delight!
No. 6 et sequi.
There follows a collection of inferior dominions - food (fish, veggies, bread and Carnation condensed milk), furniture (hardwoods only please, no pine), art (almost anything), rayon, Oriental rugs, Lalique crystal and Dry Sack. You may have distinguished a noticeable lack of living creatures - dogs, cats, birds and flowers. These I adore as much as any other - but preferably from a distance, not contaminated by either obligation or flies. Speaking strictly rhetorically I believe there is a case to be made for the lack of mathematical purity in the natural world. The fact that I have provoked the enchantment of rayon (a fabric made from regenerated cellulose) and gold (an ecological nightmare) does not diminish their abiding endurance.